International School to open in Niseko

By 12th October 2011 August 27th, 2013 Uncategorized

THE growing international community here has long been waiting for it and as of January 23, 2012, Hokkaido International School (HIS) will open a campus in Niseko.

It will be the second international school in Hokkaido after Sapporo and the first to open in a resort area in Japan.

HIS accepts children, from ages three to 12 from expats, long-term visitors and internationally-minded families. Space is limited at the moment, so hurry up with that application! There will be a waiting list for the follow up years and parents can sign in their children now. The tuition costs range between ¥850,000 to ¥900,000 per year.

Head of School, Barry Ratzliff, expects the school to expand rapidly. “We have a 50-year educational history in this island and what we are delivering will be a reflection of what we already do successfully in Sapporo.” HIS follows the international primary curriculum for the elementary science and social studies, based upon the curriculum of some European countries, the US and South Africa. The three international teachers are certified and accustomed to teaching students who are learning English as a second or third language. “They also understand a multi-aged format, because our school will be multi-aged, with classes with more than one grade,” Ratzliff says.

As the final touches to the school are underway, Ratzliff and Shibuya are holding frequent orientation courses in the run up to the opening. HIS Niseko is a 10-minute walk from JR Niseko Station, next to the Niseko Elementary School. The students will have access to the Town gym, libraries and sports fields. Many programs will be organized in close coordination with local authorities. “We are committed to cultural exchange programs with Niseko Town and the surrounding area, ” Niseko School Principial Peggy Shibuya says.

The long-term plan is to turn HIS Niseko into a boarding school, making it a breeding ground for world-class skiers and snowboarders. For now it will be 8.30am to 3.30pm, but Niseko students will be able to participate in programs on the Sapporo campus, as well as using the dormitories there.

As Niseko offers the great outdoors, HIS is already planning the three-months summer camp, which will offer a variety of sports and educational programs. Children from holidaymakers will be welcome to participate in all activities, which in the long run might lead to more students and an expansion of the school. Peggy Shibuya says: “To build a school here is our statement to show that Niseko is growing.”

For more information email Ms. Shibuya at

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